Etheria Film Night Coverage: The Love Witch - Exclusive Photos and Interview with Anna Biller; Winners Announced! - Dread Central
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Etheria Film Night Coverage: The Love Witch – Exclusive Photos and Interview with Anna Biller; Winners Announced!

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You may know of Anna Biller’s singular style from her debut feature, Viva. It was a refreshingly faithful homage to the sexploitation grindhouse comedies of the 1960s and 1970s, but with a feminist twist. It was shot on 35mm, and talented Anna channeled a Robert Rodriguez “Rebel Without a Crew” philosophy in that she produced, wrote, directed, edited, starred in, did costumes, etc., etc. The movie became a cult hit.

We waited with bated breath for her next feature. It turned out to be a nine-year wait, but it was well worth it. The Love Witch is about Elaine (Samantha Robinson), a gorgeous young psychopath, who uses sex magic and witchcraft to find romance but reaps tragic consequences. What’s not to love?

Anna brings the same can-do acumen to The Love Witch, which premiered at The Aero Theater as the featured film at the 2016 Etheria Film Night.

We caught up with Anna Biller on the red carpet, and here’s what she had to say about The Love Witch. “It’s a horror movie, but there are lots of sub-genres. It’s a thriller and melodrama. I like to joke that it’s autobiographical, but that’s only partly true. My parents and my boyfriend are in the audience tonight for the screening, so I don’t want to say just how autobiographical it is!” [laughs]

This idea of problems between the genders is where it came from originally,” Biller said, “and in wanting to make a modern-day femme fatale. The witch is a great icon to make a femme fatale from because she is so dangerous and she is so beautiful.

Style is substance in Anna’s world, so “I wanted to tap into classic horror imagery.” The Hammer influence is definitely in evidence. She said she watched a lot of noir, and you’ll see nods to them in the movie and in the character of Elaine. “I wanted to tap into horror in another way, though, because the character is a sociopathic killer and she’s a seductress.

When it comes to the witchcraft aspect, Anna did her homework. “It’s very authentic in terms of the ritual practices. I did a lot of study of witchcraft. I went to some rituals and classes, and I talked to a lot of witches and read a lot of books. There are some practicing witches in the movie, and they helped on set to make sure everything looked right. Though some witches may roll their eyes at the lab set-up [with all the beakers, bottles, and potions],” it’s for the visual and cinematic aspect, Anna explained. “It’s not supernatural at all, though. It’s realistic.

While most of the research was fun and informative, “I learned some very dark things. I learned that things I thought were fairy tales are actually true. I learned that Satanic sacrifice and things like that are actually practiced and still going on. People say they’re not, that it’s only white magic now, but no… there are black witches and Satanic abuses. I didn’t put any of that in the movie, but I did learn about it.

When it comes to the casting of a retro-fox, Samantha Robinson as Elaine is perfect. After the screening, we overheard people in the audience saying she reminded them of Ingrid Pitt and also Katharine Ross as she looked in The Stepford Wives. “She is pretty special,” Anna agreed, “and it’s just complete luck that I found her. She is incredibly beautiful, for one thing – just stunningly beautiful. She’s also really smart and has this amazing poise and diction. She used to be a dancer, which makes her carriage very poised and good posture, and she grew up in London, which gives her that crisp enunciation. She’s a natural; her training in the theater and how she grew up really sets her apart from most Hollywood and L.A. actresses. It makes her more reserved, which is perfect for the character.

The Love Witch is not set in the 60s or 70s, but it’s not set in present day either. “There are cellphones and computers, but there are also classic cars and vintage dress. It looks retro. We shot it on 35mm and pay tribute to Technicolor, and our DP is classically trained, so it does look like a classic film,” Anna said.

The Love Witch has been picked up for distribution and will be getting a theatrical release. Those who saw it at Etheria Film Night consider themselves lucky to have been among the first to discover the rare gem – along with a handful of top-notch shorts which premiered in the second half of the evening.

Walking the red carpet, special guests included the Soska twins, Jackie Kong, Richard and Anastasia Elfman, the whole cast of The Love Witch, and many more. (Check out our exclusive photos by Aaron Kai below.)

As for the winners of the night, they included:

  • Jackie Kong was awarded the 2016 Etheria Inspiration Award for being an amazing genre director.
  • The 2016 Etheria Jury Award went to Jill Gevargizian’s horror short THE STYLIST. THE STYLIST also took home the 2016 Audience Award, followed closely by Mindy Bledsoe’s dark comedy HARD BROADS in second place.
  • Olga Osorio’s science fiction time-travel tale RESTART was awarded the ISA STORY AWARD for best narrative.
  • Toy Lei’s thrilling action short BOXER won the Artemis Award for Best Action.

As always, thanks to festival directors Heidi Honeycutt, Stacy Hammon, and Kaylee Viteo for showcasing the best new horror, science fiction, fantasy, action, and thriller films made by emerging women directors.

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Freddy’s Greatest Hits Vinyl Re-issue Is a Must-Own

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Strange Disc Records has just announced that it will be releasing “Freddy’s Greatest Hits – The Elm Street Group” on vinyl starting this Wednesday with pre-orders expected to ship in January 2018.

Not only that but Mondo announced they will be releasing an exclusive variant pressed on “Freddy Sweater” striped vinyl. This LP from Mondo is limited to 400 and will cost you $25.

For those who might not know, “Freddy’s Greatest Hits” was originally released in 1987. The record contains nine tracks (covers, originals, and instrumentals) with Robert Englund doing the voice of Freddy over the top.

I don’t know about you but this has just made my list of must-own items. But I’d prefer an original copy. That said an original copy is probably hundreds of buck on eBay as opposed to this version for a mere $25 bucks. Not bad.

You can check out the full track listing and a sample song below. Then make sure to hit us up and let us know if you’ll be snagging a copy in the comments below!

Track Listing

1. “Do The Freddy”
Freddy and the Dreamers cover, as well as a parody.
The lyrics were changed to fit Freddy Krueger persona and elements

2. “Obsession”
original song

3. “Wooly Bully”
Sam the Sham and the Pharaohs cover.
Freddy (Robert Englund) provides the opening lyrics.

4. “Don’t Sleep”
original song

5. “In The Midnight Hour”
Wilson Pickett cover

6. “All I Have To Do Is Dream”
Everly Brothers cover

7. “Dance or Else”
original song

8. “Down in the Broiler Room”
original song

9. “Elm Street Dreams”
original song

Pre-orders begin Wednesday, November 22.

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That is One Gigantic Steampunk Squid…

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Perhaps one of the greatest sci-fi adventures novels ever written, Jules Verne’s 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea was a landmark book, one that was decades ahead of its time. The story follows the crew of the Nautilus, a submarine commanded by Captain Nemo, as they venture in search of a giant sea monster. It was the basis for several film adaptations and the character of Captain Nemo played a pivotal role in the graphic novel series The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.

So why am I bringing this up, you ask? Because Tor Books is releasing Nemo Rising, a sequel, this Christmas! Written by C. Courtney Joyner, the story once again follows Nemo, although this book sees him a prisoner that must be pardoned by President Ulysses S. Grant in order to face an onslaught of more sea monsters.

Normally, I wouldn’t bother you all with this, but I happen to have a soft spot in my heart for 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and the cover art for the book is fucking epic! I’ve always been a fan of cephalopods, and I’ve found the steampunk aesthetic to be pretty fascinating. Combine them both along with giant monsters, and you damn well better believe that I’m 100% into it! Plus, it’s wrapped itself around the Nautilus, which is already a giant vessel, so now I’m wondering just how large these mechanical monstrosities are…

Nemo Rising will be released on hardcover from Tor Books on December 26, 2017.

Synopsis:
Sea monsters are sinking ships up and down the Atlantic Coast. Enraged that his Navy is helpless against this onslaught and facing a possible World War as a result, President Ulysses S. Grant is forced to ask for assistance from the notorious Captain Nemo, in Federal prison for war crimes and scheduled for execution.

Grant returns Nemo’s submarine, the infamous Victorian Steampunk marvel Nautilus, and promises a full Presidential pardon if Nemo hunts down and destroys the source of the attacks. Accompanied by the beautiful niece of Grant’s chief advisor, Nemo sets off under the sea in search of answers. Unfortunately, the enemy may be closer than they realize…

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Filming On Blumhouse’s Halloween Pushed to January

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Looks like filming on Blumhouse’s upcoming sequel to John Carpenter’s Halloween from Danny McBride and David Gordon Green has been pushed back a few months.

Not a huge deal, though. Only till January.

Filming on Halloween (2018) was supposed to begin this October (natch) but now it seems the film still has some cast to fill out.

The news comes to us via a South Carolina casting agency, The Island Packet, who are still seeking extras for the new film. In fact, if you are from the South Carolina area, you can be an extra in the film. Just click the link above for more details.

I wish I lived in or around South Carolina because being in this new Halloween would be a f*cking dream come true. If you’re in the area, get on it. You owe it to the rest of us! Haha?

How excited would you be to be an extra in this new Halloween? Let us know below!

Blumhouse’s Halloween is directed by David Gordon Green from a script he co-wrote with Danny McBride. The film stars Jamie Lee Curtis and Judy Greer and is executive produced and scored by John Carpenter.

Halloween (2018) hits theaters Oct. 19, 2018.

Synopsis:

Jamie Lee Curtis returns to her iconic role as Laurie Strode, who comes to her final confrontation with Michael Myers, the masked figure who has haunted her since she narrowly escaped his killing spree on Halloween night four decades ago.

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